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Over three years of community-led planning for the redevelopment of nine parcels of City-owned land in the Lower East Side’s Seward Park neighborhood has resulted in new milestones for the project with Community Board 3’s unanimous approval of the project’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application in May and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s recommendation to approve the application in June. These sites make up the largest contiguous parcel of underdeveloped City-owned land in Manhattan south of 96th Street. Redevelopment of the site will provide up to 1.65 million square feet of retail, commercial, and residential uses, as well as a new publicly-accessible open space. The City’s ULURP application was framed around community guidelines developed last year by Community Board 3, working in collaboration with NYCEDC and other City agencies.
The new development will have a roughly 60% residential to 40% commercial split. Of the 900 residential units, 50% will be affordable for low (20%), moderate (10%) and middle (10%) income households, as well as seniors (10%). In response to the community’s request, the City is committed to keeping the affordable housing units which are developed as part of the project permanently affordable. The project vision will create a lively pedestrian experience throughout the sites, incorporating a diversity of retail types and sizes.
The plan also allows for a relocated, expanded Essex Street Market with opportunities for better connections to public space, increased energy efficiency and improved storage, temperature control, and garbage handling. The project will use HireNYC to connect local communities to employment opportunities for the development. Following Community Board 3’s unanimous approval of the plan and Borough President Stringer’s positive recommendation, the next steps for the ULURP application are review by the City Planning Commission, and the New York City Council.